Rooibos is the ultimate proudly South African plant. It only grows in South Africa (and more specifically in a 100km radius in the heart of the copper-coloured Cederberg mountains). Three and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town, you’ll find a place called Klipopmekaar – a private nature reserve that is also one of the biggest organic rooibos farms in the country. Klipopmekaar produces world-class organic rooibos which is used to make one of South Africa’s favourite homegrown products: BOS Ice Tea.
With the universal shift towards food and beverages containing less sugar, the naturally sweet taste of Rooibos adds a big tick to its long list of benefits. Rooibos is such a big deal these days – even Starbucks is making Rooibos lattes!
We wanted to find out more on why it’s on the top of everyone’s list and chatted to Dr Lindie Schloms – a biochemist and research consultant whose personal passion for Rooibos led her to her do her PhD on the anti-stress properties of rooibos.
One study shows that drinking six cups of Rooibos tea a day over a period of six weeks really helps to prevent heart disease.
Rooibos is packed with unique antioxidants, some of which can help lower cholesterol. Other studies have shown that Rooibos significantly reduces blood pressure.
Dr Schloms’s own research tells us that Rooibos is a good stress buster. It’s to do with inhibiting enzymes that produce stress hormones – something we can all benefit from.
Here are seven of the many benefits of Rooibos:
- It has a naturally sweet taste, making Rooibos tea a good alternative to sugary drinks.
- Is naturally caffeine-free and low in tannins (bitter compounds that interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron).
- Contains a chemical often found in anti-ageing cosmetics (alpha-hydroxy acid).
- Is packed with antioxidant-rich micronutrients (polyphenols), and one of them, Aspalathin, is only found in the rooibos plant.
- Increases the levels of glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body.
- Reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
- Significantly reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which helps to prevent heart disease.